JIS News

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  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, announced on Friday (March 20), that three additional cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) have been confirmed, bringing the total to 19 in the island.
  • The new cases pertain to a 38-year-old United States male citizen with a history of travel from Boston, who arrived in the island on March 14; a 30-year-old female with a history of travel from New York arriving in Jamaica on March 17; and a 60-year-old female, a retiree of Portland. The latter case is under investigation.
  • “We are at the point in the epidemic where we are classified as having local transmission, that means that we have imported cases and persons infected locally have been traced to those imported cases,” the Prime Minister explained during a press conference at Jamaica House.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, announced on Friday (March 20), that three additional cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) have been confirmed, bringing the total to 19 in the island.

The new cases pertain to a 38-year-old United States male citizen with a history of travel from Boston, who arrived in the island on March 14; a 30-year-old female with a history of travel from New York arriving in Jamaica on March 17; and a 60-year-old female, a retiree of Portland. The latter case is under investigation.

“We are at the point in the epidemic where we are classified as having local transmission, that means that we have imported cases and persons infected locally have been traced to those imported cases,” the Prime Minister explained during a press conference at Jamaica House.

“In fact, we now have 19 cases and five are local transmission, in other words, those five locally infected persons were infected by someone who travelled from a foreign country into Jamaica,” he noted.

The next stage, the Prime Minister outlined, will be community spread, which is when persons in the communities become infected and the origin of the virus cannot be traced to an imported case.

“So far, the Ministry of Health and Wellness and our experts – and I must make special commendation to our public health officers – they have been doing an excellent job, in doing the contact tracing and they have been able to identify the cases and they have been on target in all of them,” he said.

Mr. Holness said that while the method of doing the contact tracing is not an exact science and there is margin for error, “Jamaica has been following the recommended playbook in how it is conducted, and is doing it very well”.

“It is of note that the Minister and Ministry of Health and Wellness have been commended in how we have conducted our outreach,” he noted.

The Prime Minister said the Government is aware that community spread is a natural part of the epidemic and will continue to put the necessary measures in place to prevent a widespread outbreak in the communities.

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